Do your kids beg constantly for the latest tech-toys? Is your spouse eyeing an Apple TV? If you’re trying to keep up with ever improving technology and freaking out at the cost… you’re not alone. The Consumer Electronics Association reports annual household spending on electronics last year was up 36% over 2011, to $1,312.
So here are some ideas, via CNN Money, for keeping your digital budget in check:
Swap home upgrades
Many carriers will let you exchange upgrades within a family plan. So if say, your teenager runs over their iPhone with the car, you may be able to use another family member’s upgrade on your teenager – filling a need and saving you money when you need it.
Look for an older model device
Going for an older model tablet or smartphone can really save you money – while still offering high-end features. The newest iPad could set you back at least $499 for example, but an earlier version or refurbished model can cost a lot less.
Trade-in old devices
Once you’re done with a device, pass it down to someone else. Or perhaps trade it in. Amazon, Apple, and several specialty buy-back websites like Gazelle.com and NextWorth.com can offer you cash or credit for electronics.
Have kids pay up
If a brand new device just isn’t in the budget but your child is desperate for one, help them figure out the cost and put together a savings plan. Having a child contribute to the purchase of something may help them recognize its value and treat it accordingly.